Now that I’ve seen Star Wars Episode III I can’t help but rewrite the plotline in my head. (A few spoilers below the fold.)
I wish Lucas had stolen a little more from Shakespeare and a little less from Dawson’s Creek. We know from the start that Anakin is going to fall to the Dark Side and take the Republic with him, so we’re already prepped for a good stirring tragedy. Wouldn’t it have been great if Anakin was a true natural leader, the kind who could command a room and look cool without needing to dress all in black first? If he was full of youthful idealism and zeal to bring peace to the galaxy and a belief that he was the only one who could do it? If the Jedi Council and all close to him fed his somewhat deserved self-importance with the prophesy of being the chosen one, and if that pride made him vulnerable to an Iago-like Senator Palpatine’s lies? And if he started to come apart when he realized he might be mortal after all and not be able to live up to his own legend, and that drove him to jealousy and paranoia? And if he ultimately slipped to the Dark Side not out of teen spite or even desire to save Padme’s life, but out of a belief that he was actually martyring himself to save the Republic (as a true legend would do), and from that hubris he ultimately destroys it?
Anyway, that’s the Episode 3 going on in my head. I still enjoyed it well enough, but as far as tragic flaws in literature go petulance has never been high on my list.